People Managers can be in for a fright at Halloween

halloween, HR, HR issues, Hr Lawyer, Employment, Managers, employees, workplace, working, work, office, holiday
Halloween seems to be more popular than ever, but as with any holiday season, they can often spill into the work place and cause problems you may not have foreseen or know to deal with. So we thought we would give you some Halloween related HR tips.
  1. Keep an eye on the fancy dress
People like to get dressed up as all sorts of things for Halloween, and it can not only be fun but also motivational for your staff to let them do so. However, make sure that none of the costumes are offensive to anyone’s religion, nationality or any mental health problems. Tesco and Asda, withdrew a ‘mental patient’ Halloween costume from their stores as it was seen to be offensive to those with mental health issues.
  1. Discrimination against Pagans

It is important that you do not take non-mainstream religions less seriously than other major religions. The Equality Act simply defines religion as ‘any religion’. This includes both mainstream and non- mainstream religions.In the 2011 census, 57,000 people identified themselves as Pagans. A court has previously found in favour of a Wiccan employee who claimed she was discriminated against because she was dismissed after trying to change her shifts in order to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve.


  1. Halloween themed misconduct
Make sure that nothing inappropriate is brought on to the premises because it is Halloween, this can include fireworks or weapons such as knives. You must also not allow employees to use Halloween related imagery or pranks in other to bully other employees.
  1. Social Media misconduct
Employee’s activity on social media can be as much of a concern for employers as their conduct in the workplace. Any pictures that are posted that are offensive, inappropriate or bring the company into disrepute can be dealt with by disciplinary action. Your social media policy should make this clear and be communicated to all employees.
  1. Usual suspect on the list- absence management
Employees who celebrated hard over the Halloween weekend may call in sick as a result of a hangover or come into work being unable to function. Your employees need to know that this type of behaviour is unacceptable. Before you are able to take any disciplinary action, you will need evidence to show that the employee was of sick as a direct result of a hangover or that their work suffered because of a hangover. You can reserve the right to do random alcohol tests on your employees, especially if you specialise in high risk work.
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